Indian Chief Minister of Goa Laxmikant Parsekar Teusday slammed plans by his Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Ramesh Tawadkar to establish treatment centers for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.
Parsekar responded to Minister Ramesh Tawadkar's plans "to make them (LGBT youths) normal" saying that "homosexuality is a natural gift." He also said that Tawadkar's plans were announced in ignorance.
Parsekar's comments to India's NDTV news station come after television stations, social media sites and national newspapers reported the minister's plan.
Tawadkar said Monday that the programs would be similar to rehabilitation centers for alcoholics. "We will make them (LGBT youth) normal. We will have a center for them. Like Alcoholics Anonymous centers, we will have centers. We will train them and give them medicines too," expressed Tawadkar.
"As in the case of other target groups such as juvenile offenders, drug-afflicted youth, marginalized or migrant youth, geographically disadvantaged youth, a detailed survey would be carried out of the LGBT community so that their problems could be specifically addressed," the minister continued.
Currently, homosexual sex is illegal in India. The Supreme Court reinstated a ban on gay sex in 2013 ending four years of decriminalization.
The Supreme Court ruled that only parliament could change the British colonial-era section 377 of the nation's penal code. The law, dated to 1860, forbids "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal." The law is widely interpreted as referring to homosexual sex and any violation can be punished with up to 10 years in prison.
During his visit to India Monday, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he is opposed to the criminalization of homosexuality. "I am proud to stand for the equality of all people — including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender," Ban expressed.
"I speak out because laws criminalizing consensual, adult same-sex relationships violate basic rights to privacy and to freedom from discrimination. Even if they are not enforced, these laws breed intolerance," he affirmed.
Last year, approximately 1,000 LGBT rights activists marched in New Delhi to demand an end to discrimination against the LGBT community and the colonial era law.